Safety as a key performance indicator: Creating a safety culture for enhanced passenger safety, comfort, and accessibility

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - bus, ridership - old people, planning - safety/accidents, planning - service quality, planning - surveys, operations - performance


Safety, Injuries, Bus, City, Operation, Performance, Culture


Modal shift from private cars to high quality public transport is often seen as a means for improved traffic safety while simultaneously achieving other policy goals. This paper aims to describe safety from a travel-chain perspective and suggests an approach for using accident data as performance indicators. Findings from a recent Swedish case study of bus accidents show that the number of unreported injury cases was very large. Official statistics failed to provide full information and drivers frequently did not report accidents to the bus operators even though they might have resulted in moderate or severe injuries. Because injuries occur travelling to or from the bus stop, during boarding and alighting, and during the ride (braking/accelerating), passengers run the risk of being injured without the bus being involved in a vehicular collision. Non-collision injuries are indicators of poor accessibility, and even “near-injuries” might affect ridership, especially among older users. Thus, it appears that the pertinent organisational/corporate culture does not prioritize safety as a quality factor even though it is sometimes mentioned as a key performance indicator. We discuss means for improved safety culture for all stakeholders and reduce injuries, increase the use of buses, and increase travel quality and comfort.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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